Executive staff position underscores AVMA priorities
||Dr. Beth Sabin
Photo by R. Scott Nolen
Posted on September 19, 2012
In August, Dr. Beth Sabin began a new position in the AVMA Office of the Executive Vice President, coordinating the Association’s foreign affairs and efforts to promote diversity within the veterinary profession.
Dr. Sabin sees her dual roles as AVMA associate director for international and diversity initiatives as related. “A lot of what we do globally is building a better understanding of our colleagues throughout the world. If we can do that for the Association, then that openness will translate to the American population as well,” she said.
Dr. Sabin has been with the AVMA for 14 years, most of them as assistant director in the Education and Research Division. In that time, she served as staff consultant to the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates, American Board of Veterinary Specialties, the Research and Education councils, and the Committee on International Veterinary Affairs.
In 2007, Dr. Sabin represented the AVMA at the first National Convention of the Afghanistan Veterinary Association, in Kabul. Two years later, the AVMA Executive Board named her staff coordinator for international affairs in the Office of the Executive Vice President. Since then, she had balanced those duties with her responsibilities as an assistant director in the Education and Research Division. She says her new role allows her to focus exclusively on the AVMA’s global outreach and diversity initiatives.
“Dr. Sabin has been an exceptional employee, so it is great to have her move into this new position,” Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA executive vice president, said. “In her new role, we will continue to take advantage of her expertise and interest in international veterinary activities while we will also benefit from her energy and interest in promoting diversity initiatives for the profession.”
Several AVMA divisions and representatives are engaged in global veterinary medicine, according to Dr. Sabin, who added that such work should be organized. “It’s important to coordinate these activities so we don’t repeat efforts, and that we understand what our various volunteer entities and leaders are doing so that we make sure we’re always promoting our strategic plan,” she said.
Similarly, the AVMA’s ongoing outreach to underrepresented populations in veterinary medicine was not being internally coordinated. “There’s a lot being done in AVMA through our volunteer leadership and staff in this area,” Dr. Sabin said. “I want to get my head around what’s happening with diversity in our profession and identify areas where the AVMA can get involved.”
The need for a full-time AVMA staff position dedicated to diversity was first identified in “Unity Through Diversity,” the 2006 report of the AVMA Task Force on Diversity. “Dr. Sabin’s appointment represents a significant organizational step in fulfilling that recommendation,” said Lisa Greenhill, Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges associate executive director for institutional research and diversity. “I eagerly look forward to working closely with Dr. Sabin as AAVMC and AVMA continue to support efforts to expand and embrace diversity throughout the profession.”
Dr. Sabin expects to work closely with the AAVMC as well as the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in American and the Student AVMA. In August, she attended the Diversity Symposium at the AVMA Annual Convention in San Diego to begin conversing with leaders in the field. She hopes to sit in on the Member Services Committee meeting this fall during its review of the diversity task force report to measure the AVMA’s progress toward implementing the report’s recommendations.
Eventually, Dr. Sabin would like to play a part in developing continuing education sessions for the AVMA convention that focus on the financial rewards of reaching out to a diverse clientele. “We need to do a better job of making our members aware of the economic benefits of diversity by designing CE that makes the value of diversity more tangible,” she said.